We've all been told again and again by food marketers that grains - specifically whole grains - help lower cholesterol and are essential for heart health. That sentimental Cheerios commercial where the child serves his Dad bowls of cereal in bed to help keep his heart healthy comes to mind. How many of us have moms who reminded us to "eat our oatmeal!" as kids? And don't we all feel a little less guilty when ordering our sandwich on whole wheat bread because it's "better"? Millions of dollars have been spent on grain packaging screaming to us from supermarket shelves, "Buy me if you want to be healthy!!" Meanwhile, meat consumption has been thoroughly demonized as contributing to the astronomical increase in heart disease and high cholesterol plaguing Americans. But everything we've read on Paleo and Primal eating begs to differ. Now we have our own proof.
Not only is Jon's blood work better now in 2011 than it was exactly one year ago in August of 2010, it's significantly healthier than it was in 2001. So much of his "bad stuff" went down. Back in 2001, Jon was in really great shape. He just finished college where he was a nationally ranked athlete in his prime. He was really focused on his diet and exercise as they essential to his performance. His triglycerides - blood fat that may indicate a risk of heart disease - were 261! Normal is 0-150. Last year they were 203. This year? 145. His cholesterol in 2001 was 198. Fast forward a decade++, 4 kids, 4 houses, a few stressful jobs: 183. Just from last year alone, his LDL went down 15 points. I'm pretty sure a major job change and huge cross country move didn't help. How can we not attribute this our new way of eating? (Oh, and he's down 19 lbs. in 53 days as well!)
We eat meat 2-3 times a day. Some of it is lean and some definitely not (bacon, sausage, pork, etc.) We eat lots of healthy fats: real butter, buckets of olive and coconut oil, and nuts galore. Oh, and we have eggs at least 5 times a week. This alone would make most people cringe and say have fun with that heart disease and obesity. But we also eat veggies and fruits by the truckload while simultaneously avoiding grains, industrialized seed oils, artificial preservatives, and excess sugar. Clearly, there is something in this mix that works. His exercise level has more or less been the same as it was last year and certainly less than it was in 2001. The only huge difference in lifestyle between now and then: the absence of grains.
So we admit this isn't a pure scientific study and of course there are variables. But the results are kinda hard to negate. Where the majority of people's blood work gets worse with age, Jon's didn't. Between 2001 and 2010 it got worse. Between 2010 and 2011 it got better. We'll have to watch and see what happens over time, but for now these results are mighty interesting!